Buckhon Village (Hanok Village) – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 2)

It was Monday, most of the tourist spot we wanted to see were closed. Because We don’t have so much option to choose we decided to go to Bukchon Village, one of the hanok village in South Korea located in Seoul. Bukchon is located between two palaces, Changdeokgung on the east and Gyeongbokgung on the west. In the past, the village used to be upscale residential area for wealthy aristocrats and court employees.

From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going to Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and got off at Anguk station, ahead station before Gyeongbokgung. Our route from hotel is the same when we went to Gyeonbokgung Palace.

I was curious to visit Hanok Village because it’s the traditional residential area in earlier times of Korea, seeing these places excites me. From Anguk station, we walked at Gahoe-ru street, here we saw a building that it seems it’s a government office, until we realized it is the Constitutional Court of Korea. We continued our walk until we found Bukchon Jae-dong Tourist Information Center to inquire how we can go around Bukchon Village. Here they gave us instructions to go to Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center as start of our tour. We followed their instruction and walked along Bukchon-gil, we asked few people where is the exact location of the cultural center until we saw it on our own, it’s quite an adventure since we are not holding any map. Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center is a hanok, few hanoks are there and for me it is more of the tourist center than the first one that we inquired of. Here we were able to get maps of Bukchon Village. Every time I travel, I tried my best to buy souvenir. I always buy post cards, the lightest souvenir you can bring without any hassle. That’s what I did at the cultural center. After taking photos, we started our journey within Bukchon Village.

IMG_6277Constitutional Court of Korea

IMG_6280Corner of Bukchon-gil and Gahoe-ro

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Inside View of one of the hanok at Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center

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Bukchon2Vicinity area of Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center

IMG_6329We tried to follow the map. But were not able to follow it as is, because sometimes we were lost in the village until we find ourselves again based on the map. Here I will not tell the story based on the map but based on what we have seen so far inside the hanok village. From cultural center, we walked straight along Gyedong-gil (Alley) and from what I learned in the map guide, this alley is one of the original streets that already existing during Joseon period. This is one of the street that still remaining the same as before (of course the looks are different nowadays but what I am saying is the alley itself). In this street we saw coffee shop, art shops and stores in hanok which is unique, because the traditional ambiance of the place can still be felt. We found the guest houses along the alley as well. One significant hanok is the Bukchon Guest House which is before called as Bae Ryum’s House in Gye-dong. We walked up to the top end of the alley where we reached Changdeokgung-gil alley. Here we saw Choong Ang Middle and High School. Along Changdeokgung-gill alley while facing the school we decided to turn right even we saw that the alley is ascending.

IMG_6331Gyedong-gil (Alley)

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IMG_6381Some of the hanoks that we found while touring Bukchon Village

The walk was not easy, the three of us really tired when we reached the top of the alley and from the top we saw that the end of the alley is descending. Well, all of us were laughing because we were tired and we haven’t seen so much yet. At the corner of the alley, there is hanok that seems to be interesting based on the map guide that we have in our hand. We found the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, but we haven’t seen much because we heard that there is on going lectures inside the hanok and we avoid to disturb the session that is running, we just took photos outside the hanok. This is the place as the 2nd view in 8 views that can be found inside Bukchon. From here we followed some smaller alleys nearby until we saw interesting modern hanok building. We realized that the building is Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong. At the gate, there is a guard and told us that we cannot enter in the building since its closed (because its Monday).

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Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine

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photo 3Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong

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This one seems one of the wall gate in Changdeokggung Palace (though not really sure),
based from map, the area is near in historical laundry site

After walking around the area, we decided to go back at the school where we turned right so we can check what’s next to see. With the map guide we have, we followed the tracks of 8 views, though there are other tracks, but we chose the views track to continue our walking adventure inside Bukchon. 1st view was out of our current track because it is near in traditional cultural center and we were far from where we stand that time. What we found next was the 3rd view, we followed the map, we lost and we tracked again, until we found it, the 3rd view was from the Han Sangsoo Embroidery same with other hanok we never able to see what’s inside it and for some reason we were not allowed to go inside.

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photo 4Han Sangsoo Embroidery

IMG_6383Donglim Knot Workshop

IMG_6390After taking some photos at Han Sangsoo Embroidery, we continue to proceed to the next site view. We used again the map to locate where it is. Until we found Donglim Knot Workshop. Then we strolled in Gahoe-saesak-gil alley until it reached the end. Next, we crossed the Gahoe-ro street. We walked again, but this time it’s along Bukchon-Hanok-gil alley. We walked until we found the 5th View which is Gahoe-dong alley. So far, from the time we started walking around Bukchon Village, this is one of the area that I like, I can really feel that we are inside the Hanok Village. And we are not the only one who enjoyed this alley, most of the tourist comes, they enjoyed it too. We took our time to take photo shots from the bottom (5th View) and from the top (6th View) of the alley, both ends offer great and different views. Before returning at the bottom of Gahoe-dong, we tried to find another way, until we found the 7th View which is the 31 Gahoe-dong.

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IMG_64045th View at Gahoe-dong alley (below)

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IMG_64066th View at Gahoe-dong alley (top)

IMG_64177th View – 31 Gahoe-dong

We ended our walking tour in Bukchon and we decided to go back since we were tired walking at sunny afternoon. We walked again along Gahoe-ro to reach Angguk station again. This is how we ended our Bukchon Tour.

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Dubai City Tour

It was Sunday, my last day in Dubai as holiday. In Dubai or let’s say UAE (not sure if all Arab countries are the same), they started their weekday on Sunday and will last on Thursday. Therefore, they treated Friday and Saturday as their weekends. Because I will be traveling alone, I booked a bus tour which is hop-in and hop-out bus tour type. Though there are places included in the tracks that I already visited, I still join the tour since it is the cheapest way to go around the city since I can’t rent a car because I don’t know how to drive.

Here are the routes of the BigBus Tour that I booked:

1. Red Route (City Route)

a. WAFI
b. Creek Park
c. Creek Walk
d. Al Fahidi Port
e. Old Souk
f. Heritage Village
g. Gold Souk
h. Spice Souk
i. Abra Station
j. Baniyas
k. Deira City Centre
l. Burjuman
m. WAFI

2. Blue Route (Marina Route)

a. WAFI
b. Union House
c. Jumeirah Mosque
d. Mercato
e. Jumeirah Beach Park
f. Jumeirah Public Beach
h. Souk Madinat Jumeirah
i. Atlantis On The Palm
j. Mall of Emirates
k. The Dubai Mall
m. WAFI

3. Night Tour

a. Sheikh Zayed Road
b. Burj Al Arab
c. Palm Jumeirah
d. Skycraper City
e. Burj Khalifa
f. Downtown Dubai
g. WAFI Light and Sound Show

Self tour within the area: Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, and Mall of Emirates

Since I have one day left, I did not go anymore to the places that I already seen and visited. And because it still summer in Dubai, the hardest part is walking outside in a hot sunny day. During the day tour, I went outside the bus when we arrived at the Public Beach of Jumeirah and Souk Madinat Jumeirah which both belong to Blue route or Marina route.  I stayed inside the bus in other location because I am maximizing the time that I still have to see much as I can. The places I saw from the bus in this route are: the 2nd of December Street (from the formal date of nationalization of UAE from British), Union House (where the UAE was form and the huge flagpole of UAE located), Jumeirah Mosque, Mercato (an Italian themed mall), and Jumeirah Beach Park (which exclusive only for women).

IMG_2510At WAFI (day time)

IMG_2511Raffles Dubai in WAFI (at day time)

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Around WAFI (at daytime)

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Khan Murjan Entrance (at daytime)

IMG_2518Etisalat Tower 2 (along Sheikh Zayed Road)

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Jumeirah Mosque

IMG_2650Jumeirah Beach Hotel

I got off from the bus when we arrived at Public Beach of Jumeirah because I thought I can take pictures there, but unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures in the beach that was why I was not able to take pictures of Burj Al Arab from that place. My disappointment in the beach was gone when I went to Souk Madinat which can be found inside Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. I was really fascinated with the place because of unique style of the market and the structure design of the hotel that you will really feel you are in an arab desert place. I went outside the souk and found a great place to capture Burj Al Arab hotel from Souk Madinat or from Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. I realized that I was standing in some part of the luxurious resort hotel in Dubai. Though not all part are free to all tourist, it was just part where there are restaurants outside the hotel. I enjoyed the place and if I will be given a chance to come back, I hope I can stay in Madinat Jumeirah Hotel resort.

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Souk Madinat Jumeirah Entrance

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Inside Souk Madinat Jumeirah

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Burj Al Arab from Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort

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Around Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort

Another area that I enjoyed without getting off the bus is the Palm Jumeirah. A famous man-made palm shape structure island, where you can find luxurious hotels and residential homes of rich people. I never realized how big Palm Jumeirah until our bus entered the island. There are lots of residential and buildings already exist and other structures are still being built. For me the place is already beautiful and I was excited when we saw Altantis The Palm hotel from a far. I can’t believe my eyes that I am seeing the hotel which I only saw in the movie of “Sex and the City”. It is a huge hotel that I was not able to capture the whole building with my phone when we were at the front of the hotel. Atlantis is another luxurious hotel that exist in Dubai, I can’t imagine how much it will cost when you stay even for one night.

IMG_2537View while entering Palm Jumeirah (Burj Al Arab from a far)

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Atlantis The Palm (at Palm Jumeirah)

IMG_2541View of Dubai Marina from Palm Jumeirah

Next places I saw in daylight are Mall of Emirates, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, I took photos of these building again while inside the rooftop of the bus.

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Novotel (at Sheikh Zayed Road) where I stayed in my first 5 nights in Dubai

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IMG_2546JW Marriott Marquis Hotel

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Mall of Emirates

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Burj Khalifa

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Souk Al Bahar (near in Burj Khalifa)

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Dubai Mall

After completing the blue route, I transferred in Red route or City route bus and in this tour, I saw more of Deira area and its old downtown. I saw the Creek River, Creek Park, wooden Arabian Dhow, Al Fahidi Port, Old Souk, Heritage Village, Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Abra Station, Baniyas and Deira City Centre.

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Creek River

IMG_2589Creek Park Main Gate (at Al Riyadh St)

IMG_2591wooden arabian dhow in Creek River (at Al Seef Road)

IMG_2592Creek River (at Al Seef Road)

IMG_2593Wooden Arabian Dhow

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IMG_2598Old Souk

IMG_2599Old Dubai Souk Marine Transport

IMG_2602Old Dubai Souk Marine Transport

IMG_2603Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2604Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2605Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2606Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2607Heritage Village

IMG_2608Heritage Village

IMG_2613Creek River at Baniyas Road

IMG_2615Creek River at Baniyas Road

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IMG_2632Deira Old Souk

IMG_2633RTA Marine Transport at Baniyas Road

IMG_2646Deira City Center

While waiting for my night tour, I did some souvenir and gift shopping, these gifts serve as a token to give to my relatives and coworkers when I returned in my country.

The last part of the tour is the night tour where I witness and discovered how grandiose the city of Dubai at night-time. We drove again at the same route of Blue route. Here I saw Dubai differently and witness how beautiful Dubai City is during night hours.

The night tour concluded. And I returned straight from Deira City Centre to my hotel almost 11PM. This was how I ended my last day in Dubai. I hoped that I can go back again in this beautiful city someday because I know there are more places to discover and my few days are not enough to see them all, if I will be given a chance, at least I wanted to live here for almost a year to learn more about Arab culture and its country.